The economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic could push up to 86 million additional children into poverty by the end of the year, according to a joint study by the NGO Save the Children and the agency Unicef.
In total, this would be 672 million children affected by poverty, an increase of 15% over the previous year, the two organizations said in a statement on Wednesday.
Almost two thirds of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The increase in the number of children affected by poverty due to the pandemic would mainly affect Europe and Central Asia, according to the study, which is based on projections from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and demographics in around 100 countries.
“The scale of the financial difficulties facing families threatens the progress achieved for years in reducing child poverty and depriving them of essential services,” said Henrietta Fore, director of UNICEF, quoted in the press release. .
With immediate and effective action, “we can contain the threat of the pandemic hanging over the poorest countries and some of the most vulnerable children,” said Inger Ashing, patron of Save the Children. They are “very vulnerable to even short periods of hunger and to malnutrition which can affect them throughout their lives,” she warned in the statement.
The two organizations are calling on governments to rapidly expand their social security coverage and school meals to limit the effects of the pandemic.